Random Notes - A Blog


27 April 2008

Readers may be interested to know of a show recently opened at the Milwaukee Art Museum. A Revolutionary in Milwaukee: The Designs of George Mann Niedecken explores Niedecken’s commissions in the greater Milwaukee area, with a special focus on the Demmer House. Designed in Queen Anne style in 1904 by Milwaukee architects Buemming & Dick for a patron of the Milwauke Art Students League school, the Demmer House interiors parted from the style of the exterior to include custom furniture, a mural inspired by the Wisconsin landscape, and art glass windows, all designed in Progressive mode by Niedecken. The show runs through 20 July 2008.

One of Niedecken’s earliest notable independent commissions was located not in Milwaukee or Chicago, but in Des Moines. The Sedgewick S. Brinsmaid House was enriched by Niedecken’s mural (a forest scene above the wainscoting in the dining room) and art glass designed by Orlando Giannini in what surely must have been one of the most impressive Prairie efforts of Arthur Heun. Heun, an original member of “The Eighteen” at Steinway Hall, soon abandoned Prairie designs to focus on comfortable homes in revival styles for Chicago’s wealthy.

Those wishing to do some reading in advance of (or, for those too distant, in place of) the show may enjoy “Frank Lloyd Wright and George Mann Niedecken: Prairie School Collaborators,” published in 1999 by the Milwaukee Art Musuem.

Also of possible interest to those in the Milwaukee area will be the traveling show, “Hollyhock House & Olive Hill: Frank Lloyd Wright & Edmund Teske,” which showcases Wright’s drawings and Teske’s photographs of FLLW’s seminal designs for a Los Angeles residence and arts complex for Aline Barnsdall. The exhibit is hosted by Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum and runs through 15 June 2008.


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As always, I welcome your comments about this site or any Prairie School building.

John A. Panning, Lake City, Iowa





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